Elizabeth “Betsy” Kennedy of Chatham passed away peacefully on September 28thsurrounded by her loving family. Betsy was preceded in death by her husband Francis Kennedy, who passed in 1990. Born in 1920 to Charles and Elizabeth Dunn of Westfield, New Jersey. Betsy was a graduate of Dwight School for Girls and a graduate of Colby-Sawyer College, class of 1942. Betsy went on to become a flight attendant for Trans World Airlines (TWA), and remained an active member of the TWA Clipped Wings until recent years.
Betsy was introduced to her future husband Frank, a dashing Naval Marine Pilot, by way of a blind date arranged by a mutual friend. They met for the first time under the clock at the Biltmore Hotel in New York City. After a year-long courtship, Betsy and Frank were married at Echo Lake Country Club in Westfield. They immediately moved to Washington D.C., where Frank was able to finish earning his bachelors degree at Catholic University. The couple soon moved to Chillicothe, Illinois where Frank had accepted a job at Potash Company of America. It was in Chillicothe where Betsy began to make life long legendary friendships that she maintained her entire life. In 1961, Frank accepted a promotion with the company and the couple moved to Chatham along with their five children, ages 6 weeks to 13 years.
After raising her family, Betsy started working in the real estate industry and was soon able to purchase 47 Main Street Chatham from Chubb & Son in 1985. This building was used by Chubb to house their traveling corporate employees. After embarking on a year long renovation project with her husband Frank, the Parrot Mill Inn opened its doors as a Bed and Breakfast in 1986. The Inn became the second love of Betsy’s life. It was here that Betsy earned her reputation as the affable and lovable “Chatham Madame”. Betsy was the quintessential hostess, making everyone feel at home and part of the Kennedy family. Betsy welcomed everyone with a song and smile, and occasional cocktail for the weary business traveler at the end of the day. Betsy was very well known in the local community as the owner of the “only place to stay when visiting Chatham”: When the “in-laws” or that “pain-in -the-neck” relative was coming to town, the saying was “ Put them at the Inn, Betsy will take care of them”– and that she did.
The jingle of her silver bangle bracelets announced that Betsy was near. Anyone that met Betsy loved her wit, laughter, and charm.
Betsy is survived by her four daughters Susan, Kathleen, Patricia, and Leslie and her son Toby, and is also survived by three grandchildren: Laura, Christine, and Sarah, as well as three great-grandchildren: Emma, Gweneth, and Faith.
A Celebration of Betsy’s life will be held in the Spring of 2013.